School of Music and Dance Has a New Director!


It is with great pleasure and excitement the School of Music and Dance announces the appointment of Dr. Fred Cohen as its new director beginning August 2014.

Dr. Cohen comes to us from Georgia where he served as Director of the Schwob School of Music (Columbus State University, GA). Previously, he was Chair of the Department of Music at Montclair State University (NJ) and at the University of Richmond (VA). At the Schwob School, Cohen was responsible for increasing student enrollment by 25%, increasing the size of the full-time faculty by 30%, shepherding a $2.5 million gift resulting in the Schwob School’s designation as an All-Steinway institution, receiving the University’s first Excellence in Teaching Award for Department and Programs, and bringing national and international music conventions to the university.

A native of San Francisco, Cohen was a member of the San Francisco Boys Chorus for seven years. He earned his undergraduate degree in music from the University of California, Santa Cruz and his doctorate in composition from Cornell University. His areas of expertise include contemporary composition (He was the founder and music director of a professional new-music ensemble for 16 years.), instrumental conducting, music theory, and music history.

His compositions include works for acoustic and electronic media. Cohen has composed works for many leading international soloists such as bass trombonist Charlie Vernon, trumpeter Phil Smith, flutists Susan Palma Nidel and Leone Buyse, sopranos Mimmi Fulmer and Christine Schadeberg, and cellist Wendy Warner. He has been commissioned by such chamber ensembles as the Shanghai String Quartet and the Borromeo String Quartet, and large ensembles such as the Richmond Symphony and the Paul Hill Chorale. He is an active visiting evaluator for the National Association of Schools of Music.


And the Winner Is…

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The results of the 56th Annual Grammy Awards are in. Congratulations to our own Dr. Aaron Lington, a founding member of the Pacific Mambo Orchestra, whose self-titled debut album won a Grammy for Best Tropical Latin Album. Dr. Lington performed on Bari Sax for every track and composed half of the songs found on the album.

“I am completely speechless and honored,” wrote Dr. Lington on his website. “I feel very personally proud of the album… The world-class musicians that brought the music to life deserve very special recognition.”

A Visit from Ken Burns

On December 6, award-winning filmmaker Ken Burns came to San José State to receive the 2013 Steinbeck Award. He had a discussion with KQED’s Michael Krasny about his upcoming documentary, The Roosevelts: An Intimate History. Later, he answered questions from the audience, which largely comprised of students. View a gallery and article by SJSU Today.


Spartan Marching Band Winter Concert

The Spartan Marching Band is winding down another great season with their annual Winter Concert on December 15. The concert will feature all of the band’s shows from this season, plus a few fan favorites. Proceeds from the event go toward scholarships for the music and dance majors in the band. The San José Mercury News wrote their own article on the event, with comments from band director Scott Pierson.

The concert will be on Sunday, December 15 at 2PM in the SJSU Event Center. Tickets are $15 for general, $5 for seniors. Learn more.

Our New Associate Dean Takes the Stage!

The College of Humanities and the Arts’ new associate dean, Dr. William H. Street, will perform a saxophone recital on Tuesday, October 22 at 7:30pm in the Music Concert Hall. He will be joined by Roger Admiral on piano, Professor Dale Wolford on saxophone, and Paul Steenhuisen as host and commentator.

Coming to us from the University of Alberta faculty, Dr. Street has been active in university administration and governance since receiving his doctoral degree in music from Northwestern University. As a performer, Dr. Street works frequently in chamber and solo performances, oftentimes with pianist Roger Admiral and the Quatuor International de Saxophones.

The concert will feature a piece composed by our own composition professor Dr. Pablo Furman entitled “Music for Alto Saxophone and Electronics.” The concert will conclude with the premiere of Steenhuisen’s composition “Jeu de Téléphone,” an intriguing piece that will encourage audience members to use their cellphones.